Telemarketing isn’t just annoying to consumers; it’s also often a pain for the companies that rely on call centers to drive sales. As Brian Steele, a VP at Gryphon.ai, explains, compliance may not be top of mind for teams focused on generating revenue — but it should be.
Many call center and sales leaders and employees see compliance as beyond their concern. It’s hardly their fault — compliance isn’t a top priority with sales KPIs and other performance-related metrics demanding their immediate attention. Even the most well-intentioned sales leaders can struggle to keep their teams’ focus on an ever-growing list of compliance standards and regulations.
But with Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations costing organizations tens of millions of dollars and organizations already struggling to cope with an economic downturn, the price of noncompliance is far too high to ignore. To remain compliant, organizations must invest in proper education and training surrounding telemarketing compliance.
The problem with telemarketing compliance
Since the TCPA was passed in 1991, telemarketing regulations have grown more convoluted, especially as Congress and the FCC routinely update the TCPA and do-not-call (DNC) regulations.
In addition to federal regulations, states also issue their own TCPA and DNC rules. And because there’s no cap on damages, the potential liability in these cases can be astronomical. The $925 million TCPA judgment against ViSalus in 2022 serves as a stark reminder of the financial impact of non-compliance.
Although it would be nice if regulations were one-size fits all, the context and content of a call matter when it comes to legality and compliance. So, unfortunately, gray areas make compliance mistakes all too common. These mistakes can lead to lost sales opportunities, potential lawsuits and damaged company reputations.
Consider the following hypothetical: A potential General Motors customer opts in to communications related to a specific car, the Chevy Corvette, but opts out of all other GM communications. That means General Motors needs to avoid contacting the consumer about the Chevy Tahoe, Buick Enclave or any other GM-related information.
Now let’s suppose the potential customer expressed their interest during a phone call, but instead of checking the box saying the customer opted in to Corvette communications, the well-meaning sales rep accidentally clicked the adjacent box for the Chevy Colorado.
In fast-paced call center and sales environments, manual input errors like this one are common. Even if the mistake doesn’t result in a lawsuit, the customer could become irritated at receiving information about the wrong car, unsubscribe and swear off Chevy for the foreseeable future — turning General Motors’ active lead into a dead opportunity.
Clearly, the cost of non-compliance is steep — and many sales reps aren’t put in position to succeed. But by prioritizing more thorough education and better compliance solutions, organizations can turn compliance from an afterthought into a competitive differentiator.
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Three ways to support sales compliance
The challenges described above — navigating evolving regulations, discerning contextual clues and data discrepancies — are all made more daunting when sales teams don’t have the education or tools to confront them. Without an organization-wide commitment to compliance, costly mistakes are bound to occur.
Here are three ways you can make compliance easier for your sales team:
Increase education about TCPA and DNC regulations
Many enterprises are unaware of the importance of sales compliance, which means the first step toward improved compliance awareness is consistent education and training. This education must come from a variety of trusted sources, whether it’s reading relevant publications, listening to industry thought leaders or attending conferences.
After educating yourself on the regulatory landscape, you must consistently educate your sales team in an engaging and timely manner. It’s not enough to have employees complete an online module once a year — the TCPA evolves too quickly for that. Compliance should be a consistent topic of conversation for your sales team, and this is only possible when the cost of non-compliance is also top of mind.
Secure C-suite buy-in
A company-wide commitment to compliance is only possible if the C-suite is on board. To get their buy-in, it’s key to stress the financial losses that become more likely without a company-wide focus on compliance. Additionally, in times of economic uncertainty, some debt collectors and lawyers become more active in auditing organizations that are in dire financial straits. To prepare for an audit, leverage technology solutions that can review and analyze large quantities of data quickly and accurately, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete the audit.
When communicating with C-suite officials, also emphasize the reputational costs that accompany a publicized compliance violation. Potential sales prospects are much less likely to do business with you if they have doubts about the security of their data.
Consider new technology
If your organization doesn’t have the bandwidth or financial resources to keep track of evolving compliance regulations, consider enlisting AI solutions to help if they’re within your budget. When making or receiving a sales call, technology can automatically redact sensitive information from the call transcript and recordings to ensure sales reps don’t make a costly mistake.
Sales reps must also disclose certain information during calls, depending on the customer’s location and the industry you operate in. These disclosures can look different for every call, and with dozens of sales calls per day, representatives are bound to make mistakes. Advanced AI can listen to each call and prompt a statement when appropriate, reminding sales reps to provide necessary disclosures during the call.